Christine’s article Our Ancestors are Allies on Our Creative Journey was published in the May 2023 issue of U.S. Catholic. It is adapted from her forthcoming book The Love of Thousands: How Angels, Saints, and Ancestors Walk with Us Toward Holiness (releases from Ave Maria Press August 18, 2023).
Here is an excerpt:
We are alive because of our ancestors, that “great cloud of witnesses” mentioned in the letter to the Hebrews (12:1). Our grandmothers and grandfathers struggled, grieved, celebrated, and endured, and we can live our lives in ways that honor their memories. We can imagine that our ancestors would want their descendants to live good, fruitful, and meaningful lives. This is especially true for those who are wise and well and in loving relationship with us. They are allies for our creative unfolding and can offer guidance and wisdom.
Living in a loving, ethical way aligned with our gifts and service to a world in need is a profound way to honor the memory of our ancestors and let that love be channeled. We often have healing work to do with some of our ancestors: As we know through the field of epigenetics, traumas are carried down through the generations. Numbers even mentions how the sins of the parents are laid upon the children, even in “the third and the fourth generation” (14:18).
Part of this healing work is to bring our family secrets out of shame and hiding. As we bring what is unconscious to consciousness, learn to speak truth to others, release the hold of compulsions on our lives, and nourish our minds with education and our bodies through exquisite care, we are doing the hard work of fulfilling the ancestral birthright we carry.